When to Have “The Talk” with Your Kids

Posted March 21, 2012 by

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How do you know when it is the right time to have THE TALK? There were clear signs that it was time with my older boys. It just so happened that each of them was in the 5th grade when the time suddenly arrived. This was well before the ‘end of the year movie’ the children were to see in health class. You know the one. The movie you have to give signed permission for and have the opportunity to preview if you are so inclined.

My oldest was in 5th grade when Harry Potter first came out. His grandmother bought him each book as it was released and they each read it, racing to see who would finish first. When I saw there was going to be an interview with JK Rowling on TV I was sure he’d want to watch. He happened to have a friend spend the night at the time, so we made popcorn and settled in to watch together. To my surprise, this educational channel had what I considered some very risque commercials shown during the hour interview. I may not have given them a second thought had I not been sitting with two 10-year-old boys, jabbing one another and giggling. The first was a bathroom fixture commercial, where a couple raced home after work from their jobs, each peeling clothing off until they were practically naked, to see who could get into the shower first! The other was a couple fooling around on the couch. At the beginning it looked as if they were looking for money, but the whole point of the commercial was that you’d be surprised what else you’d find on the couch other than money when you really try. On top of this were Victoria Secret commercials. I have to say, I was surprised at the choice of commercials during what I thought was a show that children would be watching. It became clear to me that it was time to broach the subject. A few days later, I found a great book at the library, settled in with my son and had THE TALK. His response? “Wesley told us all this last year in Cub Scouts but nobody believed him!”

My other son was in 5th grade when my husband-to-be and I began to plan our wedding. One day I was driving my son home from school and I could see that he was deep in thought. I looked at him in the rearview mirror and asked what he was thinking. He said, “I am trying to picture what a baby would look like with the two of you together.” That definitely was not what I expected. I told him we were not planning to have any babies and his response was what made me realize it was time: “You can control that?” I guess he figured that you get married, you have babies. That’s just how it happens.

I think we generally see the signs that our kids are ready. How about you? When did you have “The Talk” with your child — or are you wondering when you should?


I am a mom of two boys, ages 16 and 22, both with ADHD, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression. I have remarried and my husband has 2 boys, ages 13 and 16. The 13 year old lives with us, and has some behavioral problems and attachment issues. There is always something happening at our house!

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